One Chick Under The Nest

It happens every year. At 28-35 days old, one of the Pitt peregrine chicks stumbles off the nest surface into the gully below.  People watching the camera get worried. The chick will be fine.

Today (5/16/2018) at 2:52p there was confusion on the nest surface as Hope brought in a dead red-winged blackbird for the afternoon snack.  One of the chicks backed up to the edge of the box and lost his balance.  Oops!  He disappeared from view.

The video above shows what happened.  We can still hear him!  He is close by and he is very annoyed!

Soon he’ll start exploring below and eating the scraps that fell from above. His parents will bring him food. He might come back to the nest or he might not.  He doesn’t need to.  He’s fine.

CORRECTION on FRIDAY MAY 18:  I was wrong when I thought the chick’s parents would not feed him in the gully.  He is being fed where he is so he has no reason to come back up to the gravel where you can see him on camera.

Here’s why I was confused: Dorothy (the previous female peregrine who lived at the Cathedral of Learning for 15 years) did not feed a chick in the gully; she waited for the chick to return.  After 15 years of watching Dorothy I thought all peregrines were like her.  Hope doesn’t play by Dorothy’s rules. Hope feeds the chick no matter where he is.

For more information on the area below the nest and video footage of a chick returning to the nest, see this vintage blog from 2015:   Below The Nest.

A Note to Commenters:  Watch the video of the chick climbing back into the nest at this link — Below The Nest — before you comment.


(video from the National Aviary falconcam at Univ. of Pittsburgh)

p.s. Humans cannot go back to the nest now without risking the death of one/both chicks.  The chicks are beyond banding age, very active but they cannot fly.  Nonetheless, they will jump to their deaths to escape predators (i.e. humans).  Human intervention at this point would be deadly.



28 thoughts on “One Chick Under The Nest

  1. Thank you for the explanation and videos Kate. I assumed that one of them fell out of the nest, but I didn’t see it happen. I really hope for her sake she figures it out quickly and can get back into the nest and join her sister very soon.

  2. Thanks for the update. I was watching when it happened but did not see the chick fall, I was paying attention to the delivery and noticed only one chick in the box and heard the other. Will anyone intervene if the chick can’t get back?

    1. No one will need to intervene. The chick will get back on its own. (By the way, if sometime tried to intervene the other chick could jump from the building in fright. Not a good idea!)

  3. I was looking at Eagle webcams. One in Hanover, PA. The egg was on the edge of the nest. Did the eagle ever rescue + hatch it??

  4. Heh, I tuned in earlier and only saw 1 chick and just assumed the other was tucked into the lower left corner of the nest box out of site. Camera seems to be down (for me at least) at the moment though (10:20 PM).

    1. J, both cameras went down at 7:19pm and came up 11:12pm. Since both were offline, there may have been a power failure on that circuit.

  5. What if the chick doesn’t make it back up to the top in a day or two…will it starve? Will someone intervene (like when taking it to band it) and help it up to the top nest again?

    1. Erin, No one will need to intervene. The chick will get back on its own. (By the way, if sometime tried to intervene the other chick would jump from the building in fright. Not a good idea!) … Hope might even feed it under there. She has been down there herself! Erin, see my reply to Jean.

  6. I echo Erin’s comment. Authorities go in to band the chicks, remove them, put them back, etc. Can’t they go up and put the baby back in the nest, so it does not starve. I understand no intervention, however, this is not a good situation for the chick. Why is it OK when the authorities want to band, but not help out when the chick is probably very hungry and possibly be in harm’s way?

    1. Jean and Erin, No. Humans cannot go back to the nest now! At this age the chicks are too old to band because they will jump to their deaths to escape predators = humans. Regarding “in the gully:” I have seen one of the chicks fall in the gully every year and EVERY TIME the chick finds his way back into the nest. He will be fine. Human intervention at this point would be deadly.
      Watch the video of the chick climbing back into the nest and read the explanation at this link: Below The Nest

  7. The chick in the nest has been up on the ledge and is doing a lot of wing flapping! She was even looking over the ledge at sister.

  8. I’ve been watching the nest box most of the afternoon and haven’t seen a food delivery for the chick there. Did I miss one? Did anybody notice? If the louder chick is the one that fell out of the nest, I am concerned that she is getting all the attention, and the food, but hoping that I’m wrong.

  9. I’ve been watching the nest several times on 5/17/2018. The chick below was making noise and I heard Hope squawk (meaning Hope fed the chick below). …But the chick on camera (the upper one) hopped onto the green ledge area and looked below at 2:38 pm. The upper chick remained in the scrape, but appeared to have no food the entire day.
    …..I’m hoping both chicks can get back together soon. Hope is taking care of the chick below for now. ..I’m concerned about the upper chick being hungry.

    1. 5/17/2018, 11 pm. I see Hope is perched in the upper nest on the edge. The upper chick is in the corner sleeping. …….Hope is aware of the chick being under the scrape (due to her feeding it earlier in the day). …..Now Friday (or the weekend), it will be seen how Hope manages to get the chicks together again.

  10. Kate, I went on the web site you posted from earlier..2015? It gave a view from another direction. There used to be 2 angles to view the nest but not this year.. What happened that we only get the one view… Just curious.. Thanks for the info on all the other sites…

    1. Patricia Weber, which bridge are you referring to? (so that I can answer your question)

  11. Kate, I was referring to the post you suggested to look at regarding the chicks back in ?2015. It gave a different angle we side to see of the nest .I was curios why we only get a front view?now..

  12. please someone, rescue the chick that fell from the nest. it doesn’t seem to be trying to get back into nest box. this situation is stressful for the chicks, for hope and terzo and for those of us who are watching them grow up.

    1. m tucker, I was wrong on Wednesday when I thought the chick’s parents would not feed him in the gully. His parents are feeding him where he is so he has no desire to come back to the gravel where you can see him on camera.
      See my revision on the original post: One Chick Under The Nest

  13. Guess the chick under the nest is happy not to have to share a room with her loud mouth sister. I know when I was younger, I’d have killed not to share my space with 3 sisters! Add in room service, and we may not see her till fledge.

  14. I was watching the live cam on Saturday late afternoon and early evening. ..I saw the chick in the scrape (upper chick) get fed by Hope on TWO separate feedings. ..The entire time, the chick in the gully below was squealing. …I know Hope is aware of both chicks being separated. …..At this point, there may be a possibility of the gully chick making it back (if she is really hungry). ..Otherwise, Hope will have the “extra” duty of feeding both chicks on separate occasions.
    ….The “noisy” chick in the gully appears to be satisfied with her separate space at the moment.

  15. Eu amo tanto assistir esses pequenos! Fiquei aliviada agora quando soube que a que cai está bem… eu pensei que teria morrido!


  16. Looks like little one in nest just joined her sister below. Sounded like Hope joined them both down there. Good luck girls!!

    1. Thanks for the update, Patricia Webber. It’s always a possibility that the upside chick will come downstairs when you feed the chick down under. Maybe that’s why Dorothy refused to feed them down under. 😉

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